The battle of wills is over and it seems that the UFC got their way – light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones has finally agreed to a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson with September 27th set as the date for what could well prove to be the biggest fight of the year.
Jones had a meeting with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta yesterday in Las Vegas after returning from a trip to South America and it seems that conducting their business in private rather than in the public eye as had been the case for the past few days helped them to come to an agreement.
“There was never an issue with a contract,” Jones said in an interview posted on UFC.com. “I was traveling and finally got to Vegas and got to talk with Dana and Lorezno. We talked and September 27th, I’ll be fighting Gustafsson.
“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson.
Jones goes on to claim that he never had a problem fighting Gustafsson, who gave him the toughest fight of his career last year.
“There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight,” Jones said. “The issue was that my brother is getting married in July and I would have preferred a later date. I didn’t want to go this early and I would have preferred to go later in October or November. It is what it is. We have a date now, Sept 27th. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother’s wedding and have a proper training camp.”
That’s a slightly curious explanation given that he’d never mentioned this before and fighting Cormier instead wouldn’t have resolved that issue, but nonetheless, the main thing is that the fight is set and needless to say, Dana White is happy about it.
“Obviously Jon is right, this if the fight the fans want to see,” White said. “The great thing about this is, we get Jones vs Gustafsson, and if Jones beats Gustafsson, we get Jones vs Cormier. Two great fights in the light heavyweight division with three of the baddest guys in the world: the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and champion Jon Jones, and the number one and two contenders.”
While the UFC have yet to officially announce the event, looking at their upcoming schedule it would appear that september 27th is the date already set for UFC 178 in Toronto, Canada.
That might disappoint Gustafsson slightly as at one stage White was talking about potentially holding the fight in a stadium in Sweden, but you can bet that after almost having his second shot at the title slip through his fingers that nobody will be more happy with today’s fight announcement than ‘The Mauler’.